NAPFA is reviewing the location of its fall conference -- currently slated for Indianapolis -- following passage of a controversial new law in Indiana that, critics say, could be used to allow discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people.
"We're monitoring the situation in Indiana pretty closely, and will consider a range of options," says NAPFA chief executive Geoff Brown. "We want to affirm our commitment that every member should experience our conference without fear of discrimination."
Brown and NAPFA chairman Bob Gerstemeier sent a letter out to members on Monday noting that the law, SB101, has been "openly cited as the legalization of discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered individuals in the state of Indiana."
Although similar to "religious freedom" laws in other states, the Indiana law appears "more egregious," the letter notes.
The Indiana law, also known as the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," allows business owners to cite religious beliefs as a defense if they are forced by the government -- or private parties acting under state laws prohibiting discrimination -- to act in ways contrary to those beliefs. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the law on Thursday.
Opponents of the law say it allows businesses such as such as bakeries and florists as well as individuals and organizations to discriminate against gays and others on religious grounds.
"We are extremely concerned about SB101's potential impact on the LGBT community," Brown says. "We are reviewing our event contracts and considering the impact this bill will have on our fall conference."
NAPFA Internet forums have been "blowing up," according to a tweet by NAPFA member (and Financial Planning columnist) Dave Grant, with discussions about the new law and the association's conference, currently scheduled for Oct. 21-23 in Indianapolis.
Brown says NAPFA is "monitoring" discussions on the topic and reactions from members, which it will "share with the board when the time comes to make a decision" -- probably around the end of May or early June.
States such as Illinois with similar laws also have explicit civil rights laws that protect sexual orientation. NAPFA's concerns would be abated if Indiana passed a "corresponding nondiscrimination clause," Brown says.
The letter from Brown and Gerstemeier urges members who are "interested in affecting change" to contact the governor and also "reminds NAPFA members in Indiana to remember this moment during future state elections."
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